nation building, when money is enough
we are going to spend billions in upgrading and redevelopment, providing more recreational facilities and given old estates a facelift. we could pump in $160 million to add in controversial features in an already over used and over crowded park. the singapore incorporation is on a buying spree around the world, buying everything that is attractive as an investment. compare these to the 1960s when the govt's coffer is practically empty. when everything that we wanted to purchase were either on credit or foreign aid. when public facilities were basic and shared by the whole neighbourhood. people had to watch tv at open air community centres. one tv for a few hundreds when it is now not new for one tv in every room, even in toilets. back to today, govt could push up all costs and prices of essential services, passing the buck of personal medical needs and personal well beings to the people. forcing people to save monies in amounts that they have not seen in their lives. we are in a state of abundance. when money is enough, to the state. never have we so much money that we have problems trying to spend them. and have to agonise for the lack of valuable ideas to make these monies really beneficial to the people. monies are seen to be spent on extravagance, on the frills, and for thrills. on the other hand we have people who are really feeling the pinch. many people are in a state when money is not enough. when life is still quite miserable, making ends meet, saving a few cents here and there to cover expenses in other areas. when tomorrow is another day of adjustments and to stretch every dollar. why is there such a huge gap, where money is more than enough at the national level and not enough at the individual level? public policies and public administration, statecraft, and nation building, all have something to do with the well being of the people and the distribution of wealth and welfare to the people. are we failing in this area? it is unforgiveable if we do, when there is plenty at the state's disposable but not reaching out to the people. it is like the nkf, with $260 million in reserve and kidney patients are still being turned away, dying, or continue to pay high treatment fees with minimum subsidies. and that is called good management and charity. we need to get our priorities right. our national wealth must be put to good uses to benefit the people. hsien loong's new year message covered many grounds, the citizens, the lower income group, the older workers, the aged and the ns men, are all in the radar screen. we are all going to move together, sharing the wealth of the nation. the issue is how are the people going to share the wealth of the nation? how would the less able and not so well endowed be made to live life a little easier? all the monies spent on physical upgradings? are they really that essential and necessary to uplift the lives of the lower income people? could they be put to better use by directly contributing to relieve the cost of livings of these people? could national resources be diverted to areas that really counts, the daily cost of commuting to work, the food cost, education, and medical fees. would there be a rethink, that the state really has a responsibility to look after the people and not to pass the buck back to the people in every area? the people pay taxes, enormous amount of taxes in gst, income tax, property tax and corporate taxes, road tax, import tax etc. everyone contributes according to his ability to the nation's growth. some are exploited and the benefits of their contribution still go to the state in some way. the people deserves to be taken care of by the state when they are unable to do so. and the state shall return some wealth to the people by reducing their cost of living. a little angpow from nss is but a little angpow that last for a few weeks at the most. it is the daily chores and expenses that must be really looked into. we need to rethink on how to manage a nation when money is more than enough. do we create a system that results in many being unable to afford to live in and have to depend on handouts? or shall we create a system that is affordable for the masses who can live their lives in dignity though with some deprivation?